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Residency Psychiatry, Indian Woman in Canada

My introduction to Psychiatry and issues of mental health was abrupt; 2 years ago, a medical student with her area of specialization undecided, my fiancé, XXXX, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Now finishing medical school, I seek a career in psychiatry, because this is the area that I know best. Inspired and motivated by my fiancé’s condition, I learned everything that I could about schizophrenia specifically, and mental illness and how it is treated generally speaking, especially where we live in Toronto Canada, were I hope to be selected as a Resident in Psychiatry. At the center of my sense of triumph and subsequently very high confidence and motivation is the fact that most of my husband’s family members were not generally supportive, at least at first; I had to win them over with time. The fact that I have learned sustainable techniques and strategies for involving family members in the treatment and recovery of their mentally ill family member is probably the greatest single aspect of my preparation that will help me to excel in and contribute to your program as a resident physician in Psychiatry.

I have learned a great deal of value about the way in which the mental illness of a family member is often if not generally very hard for friends and family to understand. Thus, they need to become informed about the challenges faced by their loved one and the important ways that they can contribute to their treatment and recovery. This is my greatest asset and the area in which I plan to excel if selected for your program.  I have reflected long and hard as a student of medicine about how crucial it is for patients with mental illness to be in a supportive environment since this helps tremendously. XXXX had a tough childhood and sustained a lot of damage growing up; a witness to domestic violence, divorce, and the loss of family to cancer, he was also himself a victim of child abuse and emotional abandonment.

I have studied closely how Schizophrenia—like many other mental illnesses—is a lot more than genetic predisposition, with environmental factors always coming into play. I am convinced that my husband’s troubled childhood had a role to play in his substance abuse, and that his substance abuse was a factor in the onset of his schizophrenia. What seems most clear of all, however, is that he could have greatly benefited from seeing a psychiatrist at an earlier age. I would like to see all children from troubled homes have the opportunity to receive evaluation and treatment from a Psychiatrist. In fact, I am convinced that XXXX’s mental health challenges are ultimately rooted in his negative childhood experiences, especially physical and/or emotional abuse.

I have dealt with my relationship with XXXX by simply deciding to marry the practice of medicine. XXXX is not with me and I have no plans of marrying him or anyone else for that matter. What excites me most is the prospect of putting what I have learned to good use professionally after I finish medical school this coming May. Depression, anxiety and suicide rates among young people in Canada are way too high, especially among minority groups. While I was raised almost entirely in Canada, the fact that I am a Sikh Indian informs every aspect of my being. As a doctor who looks forward to a long lifetime of practicing medicine in Toronto, I think and feel as a minority about medical issues primarily because I will always be conscious of the fact that I too am a minority. Most importantly, my non-white persona helps me to win the confidence of members of minority groups, which I see as a great asset that will help me to excel in the attention that my hospital is able to provide for members of minority groups who suffer from mental health challenges and issues.

My own personal battle with anxiety and depression as a young woman, along with the struggle of my mother as well, opened my eyes to the hidden grief that so many people tend to carry around with themselves. Members of minority groups suffer in special ways that are unique to their culture. I have noticed problems of anxiety and depression to be particularly prevalent among the members of my own Indian Sikh community, for example, and this has deepened my curiosity with respect to our battle against depression and anxiety among minority patients generally speaking.

I have always been the listener in my circle of friends and family. I love listening to people’s problems and more importantly helping them to find a solution. The gratitude I feel when I can help someone with his or her problems is extremely rewarding. I look forward to building a research base in the area of child and adolescent psychiatry and how precautions must be taken with high risk children to provide them with the care that they need, often to prevent damage that will be with them for a lifetime. My long term dream is to someday lead teams of professionals in support of at-risk, pediatric patients so that they might thrive at home and at school. I feel strongly that I have the personal qualities that make for a great psychiatrist, exceptional empathy and emotional resilience. Intuitive, I understanding what patients are feeling; patient, I never search for quick fixes.

There is a shortage of psychiatrists in our city, especially for children and adolescents, and I hope to someday open a private clinic in Toronto and set up programs for youths in elementary and high schools that raise awareness about mental health issues. I also plan to pay special attention to the Indian community, which has a particularly hard time understanding the severity of mental issues, especially in children. I see myself down the road as conducting free mental health awareness seminars geared towards our youth in Sikh and Hindu temples across Canada.

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